The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has inaugurated its new CHF145-million ($147 million) headquarters in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
The inauguration coincided with the 125th anniversary of the organisationexternal link which is preparing to select the host city for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Olympic Houseexternal link, as the new HQ is known, has been built on land belonging to the city authorities at the lakeside Vidy district. The modern 22,000m2 glass-and-steel structure cost CHF145 million and will bring together 500 staff under one roof. It was built on the site of the former IOC headquarters, next to the Chateau de Vidy.
"On this very day... Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee and revived the Olympic Games," IOC President Thomas Bachexternal link said on Sunday.
"He saw this as a way to promote peace among nations and people," the German told an audience that included Swiss President Ueli Maurer, IOC members, and officials from international federations and representatives of the 206 national Olympic Committees.
"This Olympic House, which we are inaugurating today, is a reflection of this mission and of our values."
Olympic House, designed by Danish architects 3XN, has an “agora” welcome area, restaurant and sports cafe where visitors can watch sports events, as well as five large meeting rooms, offices and a sports centre. It also features a spectacular spiral staircase in the form of the five Olympic rings.
The IOC claims that the building is “one of the most sustainable in the worldexternal link”. It has won numerous international and Swiss awards for sustainability. Renewable energy is provided using solar panels on the roof and pumps taking water from Lake Geneva.
Lausanne, Olympic capital
The IOC was established in Lausanne on April 10, 1915 by its founder Pierre de Coubertin and has since become a multi-billion-dollar operation. The city of Lausanne and IOC have agreed to a new lease that runs until 2115. Lausanne is set to host the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games.
Besides the prestige associated with hosting the IOC and other international sporting bodies, Switzerland and Lausanne also benefit economically from them.
A previous study, commissioned by the IOC, the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud, has shown that the IOC and over 50 international sports federations based in Switzerland annually contribute CHF1.07 billion to the Swiss economy and CHF250 million to Lausanneexternal link alone.
After Sunday's festivities, on Monday the IOC will elect the host city for the 2026 Winter Games with Italy's Milan and Stockholm the only candidates in the race. Four others - Swiss city Sion, Japan's Sapporo, Austria's Graz and 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada - dropped out in mid-race, scared off by the size and cost of the Games. About 100 members are expected to vote at the IOC session on Monday afternoon.